October 14, 2019

#countdowntoHalloween day 17 - A real-life ghost story

 A lot of sea stories begin with "This is a no-shitter" but I swear this is true!
Many moons ago, when I was a green kid of  maybe 19 years old, 1992/1993-ish, I was stationed on the USS Canopus AS34, a submarine tender that was homeported in King's Bay, GA.  It was decommissioned in 1994 and scrapped in 2010, but that's another sad story (and video - it's on YouTube).  

Onboard a US Navy ship, all hands are responsible for the safety of the ship.  Which means there are regular drills held to make sure everyone knows what to do if an emergency happens.  
 photo source
(I also have a postcard of this same shot)
The pier in Kings Bay. 

One day, there was a "hazardous material" spill on the quarterdeck.  Myself and another junior sailor where sent to get a spill kit on the double.  There was one located in a passageway several decks below the quarterdeck.  We raced down the steep ladders and threw open the door to the passageway where the kit was located.  
As soon as we stepped into the passageway, the temperature dropped drastically and we were hit with a very angry feeling.  It was almost physical, the anger pressing on us.  We stopped in our tracks and stared at each other for just a second - wanting to get out of there fast!  Luckily the spill kit was close, and we had the mind-frame to grab it before we bolted.  
I always wondered about what could have happened.

It was many years later when the wonders of the Interwebz made research easy,  I found all sorts of interesting articles that shed light on what Maxwell & I experienced that day. 
photo source
this link also has some interesting first-hand stories from guys who'd been on the subs alongside when the fire happened.

The passageway where the spillkit was located was (unbeknownst to us poor kids!) in the brig area. 
In a nutshell, 2 sailors who had been unhappy with life on the ship went UA (the Navy version of AWOL) and had been charged with assault & battery by Scottish civilian law enforcement and returned to the ship to be detained.  They and their guard were overcome by smoke. 
The articles say there was an investigation about how the fire broke out, but I didn't find what the results were.

Maybe when the ship was finally scrapped those spirit(s) were set free.

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